The Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning has completed the draft of the Reston Comprehensive Plan Amendment that will guide future development in Reston’s neighborhoods, village centers and open spaces.
Working under the quicker Fairfax Forward process, the plan — also referred to as Reston Master Plan Phase 2 — was organized in 10 months. Phase 1, approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2014, took nearly four years.
“Staff has collaborated with community stakeholders, incorporated community ideas, and drafted a proposed amendment to the Reston section of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan based on these collaboration and engagement activities,” said Richard Lambert of the county planning and zoning office.
“Admittedly, not everything everyone wanted made its way into the proposed amendment. Staff had to meet some groups down the middle. This is the needle we thread. We are hopeful that the majority of people will be pleased with the majority, if not all, of the proposed amendment.”
There will be a Planning Commission public hearing on April 22 at 8:15 p.m. and, if recommended for approval, the Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing and vote on June 2 at 4 p.m. Both hearings will be at the Fairfax County Government Center.
Fairfax County officials say the the current comprehensive plan, last updated in 1989, requires revision because Reston no longer has a master developer to update the plan for Reston; the plan for Reston has outdated elements; and with population expected to grow with the arrival of Metro, Reston is evolving as a community.
Phase I of the Reston Master Plan changes looked at how development and density should proceed in the areas surrounding transit stations such as Metro’s Wiehle Reston East.
Here are some of the highlights for Phase 2:
Village Centers — The amendment establishes general vision and guidelines for redevelopment for any future village center redevelopment proposals. The general vision for Reston’s village centers addresses elements necessary for village centers to achieve the desired goal of becoming a vibrant community gathering space. The Guidelines for Redevelopment establish a process for developing detailed plans and considering redevelopment proposals.
Redevelopment of neighborhoods — There is only one active rezoning application, for the St. Johns Woods Apartments near North Point Village Center. While the rezoning application seeks additional density (up to almost 50 dwelling units per acre) and midrise residential buildings, the county planning staff’s approach “is consistent with the study’s larger approach, to maintain today’s existing built form, density and overall character. ”
In general, the report says “Reston’s clusters and neighborhoods should be protected from pressure to redevelop, which may be caused by growth and redevelopment elsewhere in Reston.”
“There are some circumstances may arise that merit consideration of the redevelopment of an existing cluster or neighborhood, such as if a cluster should become blighted. Under such circumstances, the Board of Supervisors may consider proposals to amend the Comprehensive Plan and/or to rezone in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan to allow for the consolidation and redevelopment of such clusters or neighborhoods.”
Tall Oaks — One of the study’s community meetings was devoted to discussing village centers and another portion of a community meeting was spent discussing several limited issues related to Tall Oaks Village Center. Tall Oaks was recently sold, and the new owners proposed a redevelopment concept that would result in mostly residential uses. They have not submitted any redevelopment plans to the county, only met with staff and several adjacent cluster representatives.
If redeveloped, Tall Oaks should follow a “baseline” recommendation that would preclude both additional density and the mix of land uses proposed by the residential developer.
“Staff believes there needs to be additional community and staff discussion, as well as a detailed redevelopment proposal in order to properly consider if a redevelopment recommendation should be added to the Reston Plan,” the report says.
Convenience Centers — Existing Reston convenience centers at Soapstone, Lake Newport (the Tetra building that Reston Association is seeking to purchase), Sunrise Valley and Fairways should remain the same density and usage as built. The Home Depot shopping area should remain retail, but the plan gives guidance for mixed-use development in the future.
Golf Courses — Reston’s two golf courses (Reston National and Hidden Creek) should remain golf courses.
Road improvements — There are several roadway network improvements recommended. Among them:
- Construct an enhanced street grid networking the transit station areas to increase connectivity Construct an overpass (four-lane bridge) across the Dulles Toll Road from Sunset Hills Road to Sunrise Valley Drive approximately at Soapstone Drive
- Construct a Town Center Parkway Underpass (four-lane tunnel) from Town Center Parkway and Sunset Hills Road to Sunrise Valley Drive west of Edmund Halley Drive
- Install an interchange at Fairfax County Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive
- Construct an overpass (four-lane bridge) across the toll road from Sunset Hills Road to Sunrise Valley Drive approximately at South Lakes Drive
- Improve Reston Parkway with six lanes from South Lakes Drive to the toll road
The report also addresses bike connectivity, open space, affordable housing, and park facilities. See the entire 300-plus page report on Fairfax County’s website.